Verne Welch - Thomas Jefferson '55

Cosby and Welch

Cosby and Welch

Verne Welch has a fabulous history here in Council Bluffs and, really, throughout the nation. After graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1955, he made his way to California, sold his first business and then joined the team at Harrah’s in Reno, Nevada. He met Bill Harrah at the Harrah’s Automotive Automobile Collection, which at the time was one of the largest auto collections in the world. He continued to work for Harrah’s for the next 15 years in several locations from Lake Tahoe to Atlantic City and Las Vegas.

New adventures continued on Verne’s horizon. He worked for Harvey’s Casino in Lake Tahoe and assisted in the company’s expansion into the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and the Harvey’s Wagon Wheel in Central City, Colorado.

Eventually Verne was building Council Bluffs casino infrastructure and standing at the helm of the boat, so to speak.

Through his ventures, Verne met countless celebrities, and among those he fondly remembers is his three-decade-long friendship with Bill Cosby.

Verne also was a Naval intelligence expert, serving until 1968. He actually was one of the few to witness an H-Bomb test in the 1950s in the South Pacific. Verne recalls the mushroom cloud was a sight to see along with the sound waves, heat waves and ocean waves from the explosion.

This 2000 inductee into the Thomas Jefferson Hall of Fame, is a true leader, proud alumnus and friend of education.